Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Microstory 1297: The Bat and the War

A war was brewing amongst the animals of the southern dry lands. No one was quite sure why there was such animosity between the birds and the beasts, but neither side wanted to concede. They wanted to win, and to prove to the other side how much stronger they were. “We are large and fierce,” said the beasts. “Any one of us could easily take down an entire flock of you, if not for your wings.”

“Ah, said the birds, “but we do have wings. That is our great advantage. You may be able to rampage, but we can always fly away. We can also strike down, and peck out your eyes, and you will be hopeless to run away.”

The animals continued to argue, but did not yet resort to violence. Surely it was coming, though, and everyone was secretly afraid of what that might mean for them and their families. As things were deteriorating, both sides noticed something strange. They realized that the bat seemed to be both a bird, and a beast. He had wings like a bird, but fur like a land animal. Each side tried to coax him over to fight with them, but he was hesitant. They insisted that he choose which one he would identify as. “I choose neither side,” said the bat, “and I choose both. I am proof that birds and beasts can live in harmony. Our holy ancestors must have come together at some point long ago to make me.” And so the bat continued to speak his word, and since both sides respected him, they listened, and they also felt comfortable airing their own grievances. It was through the bat’s mediation that war was prevented entirely.

This story was inspired by, and revised from, an Aesop Fable called The Bat, the Birds, and the Beasts.

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